Two ice fishermen kicked off 2015 with an incredible catch on the St. Croix. Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle shared the photo of Will Spychalla and Carlin Salmela’s record-sized lake sturgeon. The fish was caught on a shiner from Blue Ribbon.
Because sturgeon season is closed, the fish was returned to the river and it does not qualify for the record books.
The current Minnesota state record is 70″, 94lb 4oz. It was caught in the Kettle River, a St. Croix tributary, in 1994. The Wisconsin record is 87.5”, 240 pounds, caught in Lake Winnebago.
Based on the New Year’s Day fish’s size, it is probably at least 50-years-old, possibly up to 75-years-old. Sturgeon can live longer than 100 years. The species itself is about 150 million years old. Unlike most fish, female sturgeon don’t begin spawning until they are 25-years-old, and then only spawn every four to five years.
Sturgeon were once widespread in Minnesota and Wisconsin, but were nearly wiped out by pollution, overfishing, dams, and other human activities. Today, they managed as a species of “special concern” in Minnesota.